Haircare brand Davines is working to put environmental sustainability at the forefront of its business.
The brand began projects to offset its carbon emissions in 2005, has incorporated sustainable guidelines into its packaging since 2011, became a certified B Corporation in 2016 and, since 2018, all of Davines’ product packaging is carbon-neutral. The ultimate goal is to offset all of the business’s carbon emissions by 2030, says Ayrn Aiken, ecommerce coordinator and sustainability specialist at Davines.
Most recently, the brand launched a tool on its ecommerce site that gives a shopper the choice to pay more for shipping to offset the carbon impact of delivering a product to her home. Since the feature’s launch in April 2020, about 10,000 orders have shipped with the carbon impact offset, Davines says.
Davines launched in Italy in 1983, and its goods are still manufactured in Italy. Davines sells internationally and the large majority of its sales are business-to-business, selling products wholesale to salons. Davines’ direct-to-consumer online sales, however, are a growing part of its business, Aiken says, which includes sales via its own ecommerce site, Nordstorm.com and Amazon.com.
A B Corp. certification means Davines is a for-profit business but it is required to report and consider the impact of its business on its workers, customers, suppliers, community and environment. Carbon-neutral packaging means it offsets the carbon emissions from manufacturing its products with an equivalent donation to organizations that work to reduce carbon emissions. Davines donates to non-profit organization EthioTrees, which is focused on land and forest regeneration in Ethiopia.
How the feature works
Davines also selected EthioTrees as the beneficiary of its program to offset its carbon emissions for shipping from its warehouse in upstate New York to a customer’s front door. Davines uses the Cloverly plugin, which integrates with ecommerce platforms, including Shopify—the platform Davines uses—to calculate the environmental impact and carbon offset for various activities.
Cloverly calculates the carbon impact on Davines’ shipping by factoring in the weight of the package and the distance between the shopper and the warehouse to calculate the cost. Davines donates this amount to EthioTrees while charging shoppers a flat fee to keep the message clear and simple, Aiken says. On the checkout page, a shopper can click a box to “add $0.30 for carbon neutral delivery.”
“That was just another way really to be able to showcase our values to our own online customer,” Aiken says.
That 30 cents includes both the carbon offset and a fee that Clovery charges for the service. There is no other integration fee, Aiken says. The difference for distance and weight for each order is pretty negligible so the flat rate is just easier to communicate to shoppers, Aiken says.
While 30 cents does not seem like that much money, Aiken emphasizes that the shopper is only offsetting one small package and not the entire truckload that is being shipped. The brand’s logistic teams also work to only use ground shipping, instead of air shipments, to further reduce the environmental impact, she says.
“Ecommerce as a total business has a big impact, but order by order, the impact from a carbon perspective is a little bit smaller,” Aiken says.
Davines integrated with Cloverly in April 2020 after working with them for a few months. Since beginning the program, Davines’ shoppers have offset 186,000 pounds of carbon dioxide across 10,000 orders. On average about 20% of Davines shoppers choose to offset their purchase, a portion Aiken is happy with.
Why Davines added sustainable shipping
When Davines first launched its sustainable shipping option it displayed a banner about the program on its homepage and included related messages in its marketing emails. Since the initial launch, it had not promoted the program until Black Friday 2020.
Typically on Black Friday—which Davines calls Green Friday—it donates 1% of its ecommerce sales to an environment-focused organization. This year, it continued its 1% initiative, and Davines covered the 30 cents on every order for sustainable shipping, so there was no net negative impact on the environment from orders shipped that day, Aiken says. On Nov. 27, it offset the equivalent of 5.1 metric tons of carbon, Davines says.
While this was a good initial launch, Aiken is hoping to highlight the feature even more on its website and in its marketing materials in 2021 to encourage more consumers to choose it.
Davines decided to add the feature not only because it aligns with its brand’s values, but because it knows that its customers care about sustainability.
“For us, it’s something that really aligns with our values with the company. We’ve made a lot of commitment to carbon neutrality and net-zero emission in the future,” Aiken says. “This is really important to us as a way to communicate those values.”
A number of consumers are seeking out businesses and purchasing with them because of their sustainable practices. Over the five-day period Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, 11.1% of consumers said they purchased at an online retailer specifically because of the retailer’s sustainable business practices, according to a Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 1,113 consumers in December 2020.
Plus, 30% of consumers said they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly shipping and packaging, according to a Bizrate Insights and Digital Commerce 360 survey of 989 consumers in March 2020.
Another one of Davines’ sustainable initiatives includes environmentally friendly packaging within its shipping boxes. For example, most of its products ship with recycled paper to pad the product instead of plastic. In addition, its packages are designed to be lightweight to reduce the carbon emissions of shipping them and to reduce the raw materials required, she says.
Davines also hopes to implement a recycling program with client salons. Already, Davines is part of a salon-focused recycling program, Green Circle Salon, which provides salons with recycling containers to use to gather empty product bottles and then send them back to Green Circle Salon to properly recycle. Davines wants to expand the program so online customers can recycle Davines’ containers at their local salon when they’ve used up the product.
It was hoping to implement this program this year, but Davines delayed it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many salons closed initially and, when they reopened, often asked consumers not to bring in any items with them for safety reasons. Plus, now is not the time to encourage consumers to leave their homes, and so Davines is hoping to resume this initiative when the pandemic is over.Favorite